Royal Spoonbill – weird beak and lush feathers crest

Royal Spoonbill - weird beak and lush feathers crest

Royal Spoonbill, also known as the Black-Billed Spoonbill is a weird-looking bird with a spoon-like bill.

The most distinctive feature of this bird is obviously its bill. However, another interesting thing is that spoonbills, during breeding season develop a lush crest of white features. The crest is up to 200 millimetres long and it sprouts at the back of their head.

Funnily, both genders develop the crest, but the females’ crest is usually smaller.

Spoonbills feed on fish in freshwater, shrimps in tidal flats, and other crustaceans they find in the shallows.

During the breeding season, it nests with many other birds, like Yellow-billed Spoonbills, ibises, herons, and cormorants.

Where do spoonbills live?

It is a wetland bird that likes shallow waters. It is due to their specific flat bill with which, they have some feeding limits. They prefer water that is less than 40 cm deep over-sand. When feeding they sweep the water with their bill to catch food.

So, usually, you can spot it in shallow wetlands, either freshwater or saltwater.

Also, it can be found in mud plains or wet grasslands.

Where Royal Spoonbill can be found?

The bird can be found throughout eastern and northern parts of Australia, starting from Kimberley, Top End, then through Queensland to New South Wales and Victoria or even south-eastern South Australia.

Interestingly, the spoonbills have not been seen southwest from Broome in Western Australia. However, it has been found in New Zealand, Indonesia,  and Papua New Guinea. 

A white bird with a black spoon-shaped bill with a ragged crest, of sometimes buffish plumes and yellowish wash to the breast in the breeding season.

Travel Spiced Life

Royal Spoonbill got his name from the renowned ornithologist John Gould in 1838.

Royal Spoonbill Livespan

The approximate lifespan of spoonbills is 15 years.

We usually travel in the northern part of Australia, but we saw this bird only once in Kimberley. It is a very distinctive-looking bird.

Where spotted:  Kimberley, Western Austalia, St Lawrence 

Royal Spoonbill – more information


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